Three takeaways from each new lineup at BLAST Premier Fall Groups
What kind of clues did the season's first event give us ahead of IEM Cologne?
2023's summer silly season saw a host of top names arrive at pastures new. BLAST Premier Fall Groups, as the season's debut, was also the first outing for these new squads, and that has given us a host of data to sieve through ahead of the season kicking off with its first big event at IEM Cologne.
There's been a few surprises in terms of how the new lineups have fit together, and we've collated all of that information here in positional tables — at a glance you can see which riflers are in the star spots, as well as those that have got a lot of demos to watch as they get more comfortable in new positions.
We've also listed the three main takeaways from teams' play at BLAST underneath the tables both from the new spots and some statistical quirks. Without further ado, let's get into it.
How to read the tables
- NEW stickers appear when a player is in a new position compared to what they played in the first half of 2023. It does not mean they have never played there.
- BAN hammers appear on the team's new permaban.
- Orange roles on T side show 'map control' positions, the spots where you see the entry pack take space together. Blue is the two extremity players who usually flank the map control pack.
- On CT side the orange again denotes high-activity positions, the rotating positions where you usually see star riflers. Anchor and low-activity spots are shown in blue.
1. Dion "FASHR" Derksen slots in for Shahar "flameZ" Shushan, taking the active star roles on CT side and operating as a space taker on T — more similar to his role in ECSTATIC than his supportive one in fnatic.
2. Nemanja "nexa" Isaković and Maciej "F1KU" Miklas have swapped positions on the bombsites they share, now putting F1KU in the more active spots and nexa as anchor.
3. Nils "k1to" Gruhne is a full support on this team; he has anchor spots on CT side, and on T is in passive lurker spots in defaults before having to operate as a mid-round entry fragger.
1. Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis has gone full IGL, allowing Robert "Patsi" Isyanov to take most of his old star T side roles. Patsi has 36.5% opening kill attempts on T side, and YEKINDAR just 23.4%.
2. Patsi has performed well in these roles (and even has a 1.30 CT rating) and is Liquid's highest-rated player at 1.05. But YEKINDAR's fragging has suffered considerably after these moves and he sports a 0.91 rating so far.
3. Aleks "Rainwaker" Petrov has slotted in for Nick "nitr0" Cannella on CT side, but has actually taken a lot of Keith "NAF" Markovic's positions on T side. This means that NAF is now the 'fourth man' for Liquid, joining the pack for executes while Rainwaker is left to lurk.
1. flameZ has slotted into nearly all of Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen's old roles. This means plenty of new anchor positions to learn, while he should be more comfortable as the space taker on T side.
2. Lotan "Spinx" Giladi is taking an extra bit of initiative on CT sides these days, being involved in 27.4% of Vitality's first duels on the defensive half at the event.
3. Dan "apEX" Madesclaire is keeping his star CT roles, allowing him to get valuable first-hand information as the team's captain. His ability to frag in these spots will be under the microscope as the team continues.
1. Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski was signed to be a star and his debut was promising, putting up a 1.10 rating.
2. Håkon "hallzerk" Fjærli struggled, making it two LAN events in a row below a 1.00 rating after five above 1.14 beforehand.
3. EliGE will not be a magic wand to their struggles mentally. Complexity failed to convert a 15-10 lead on Nuke against Ninjas in Pyjamas in a performance reminiscent of their last twelve months: Promise, but no cigar.
1. Hampus "hampus" Poser has taken even more active CT positions than Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen had, which puts Fredrik "REZ" Sterner as the team's main anchor on CT (and lurker as T).
2. Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke is known for his aggression but it is Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin who takes the most map control on the team, and has 30.2% opening kill attempts compared to k0nfig's 20%.
3. Daniil "headtr1ck" Valitov was solid once more with a 1.15 rating — and he has yet to drop below 0.60 DPR for an event for the Ninjas.
1. This is a team built around Timothy "autimatic" Ta, with the old EG Black boys shuffling around to make space for him.
2. Jadan "HexT" Postma operates as the side's lurker and anchor, with Jeorge "Jeorge" Endicott as the more active lurker and in a few star CT positions.
3. Paytyn "junior" Johnson's return to LAN went well, with great maps against G2 and Vitality to take solace in despite another last-place exit for Evil Geniuses.
1. Elias "s1n" Stein is now acting as the team's co-IGL in partnership with Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz.
2. The two captains get the lions share of active positions on both T and CT, acting as the squad's map control pack and its rotators.
3. This means that Karim "Krimbo" Moussa will have to be the team's star rifler from anchor positions on CT — a role also done by Robin "ropz" Kool, Kaike "KSCERATO" Cerato, and Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov in tier-one.
1. Like YEKINDAR, Benjamin "blameF" Bremer is committing to the IGL roles. Victor "Staehr" Staehr joins him in the map control pack and as the rotator on CT, but unlike YEKINDAR blameF's fragging has not taken a significant hit; Big Benja ended the event with a 1.33 rating.
2. But it's Johannes "b0RUP" Borup and Christian "Buzz" Andersen who are taking the majority of the team's opening duels — when Astralis execute, it's the lurkers who act as the entries.
3. Staehr was quite aggressive at Sprout with 24.1% opening kill attempts for the year, but has been more withdrawn on Astralis (15.0%).
1. Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy continues in the anchor roles he's played in the last few months. This frees Aleksib to take some of his favored rotator roles.
2. Justinas "jL" Lekavicius comes in as the supportive element, picking up a lot of Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy's roles.
3. Mihai "iM" Ivan was signed to be a star and has been given the positions and freedom — he averaged 27.5% opening kill attempts — to match. His inconsistency has been apparent but his entry-fragging role is one that lends itself to volatility.